Response time is a crucial component of a school safety plan. Every second matters when an extreme emergency event threatens the lives of students, teachers, and staff members on campus.
Violent events on campus capture the headlines, but the vast majority of emergency situations on campus don’t make the local news. For a recently released report, nearly 60,000 school emergency incidents on campus were analyzed and 98 percent were found to be everyday emergencies, including:
- student elopement
- medical emergencies
- behavioral incidents
Campus-wide events, including active shooters, count for only 2 percent of safety incidents. Anybody can agree that seconds matter in those cases, but time is also an important factor when a student with autism wanders off campus, a teacher with diabetes experiences low blood sugar, or a student has a bad mental health day.
During any type of emergency, it’s important for proverbial cooler heads to prevail. Teachers and school officials need to remain calm and give clear instructions, so students know how to quickly and calmly respond as needed.
In some cases, the best course of action is to keep children in their seats while the teacher contacts the school nurse to handle a medical emergency.
However, nearly half of all safety incidents at school take place outside of a classroom, so it can be difficult to know where to respond or how to respond.
That’s why school staff safety training sessions should cover a wide range of possibilities to provide staff members with the tools they need to respond no matter what the situation.
That 2 percent of emergency incidents get a lot of attention, but when it comes to school safety, administrators need to focus on giving 100 percent to all of the children in their care. It can be a tall order, but students and their families deserve nothing less.
And it is possible to take the necessary steps to save time and increase safety and security on campus. Innovative technology can shrink the distance between the first alert and the response.
As leaders work together at the school and district levels to develop a school safety plan, it’s important to investigate any option that promises the gift of time during any crises on campus:
- active shooters
- medical emergencies
- natural disasters
- public health emergencies
Our incident response technology can help keep people safe during an active shooter event, but it also protects staff and students in the other 98 percent of alerts, which involve everyday emergencies.
Brantley County Schools in Georgia used ESSER dollars in 2022 and chose CENTEGIX’s CrisisAlert system to protect their students and staff. In January, the school system held school staff safety training about how to use the system.
Less than a month later, a teacher collapsed. Multiple teachers triggered their CrisisAlert badges, and help arrived to see the teacher was not breathing. After CPR, the team used an AED to get a pulse. First responders arrived and took her to the hospital.
“And the doctors told her without a doubt that if the AED had not been used within the first five-to-six minutes that she wouldn’t be here today,” said Dr. Kim Morgan, superintendent of Brantley County Schools.
The Jay School Corporation in Portland, Indiana, had used cell phone apps before choosing CrisisAlert from CENTEGIX. The technology proved its usefulness immediately.
“We’ve had 71 instances since the start of the school year where teachers hit the three-button send-help feature,” reported Jeremy Gulley, Jay Schools Superintendent. “And those were student behaviors. So it might be a special needs student who the school staff member needs some help with or a student who may have an anxiety attack or a seizure, or just a situation where kids are making bad choices and a staff member needs help. So 71 times we’ve had that pressed and used.”
Gulley also shared how effective CrisisAlert is for responding to school emergencies: “The idea that anybody can call a lockdown is huge. And not only that, 911 is notified immediately, and they have the location of who activated the lockdown with an app…Each time someone activates, it’s gonna give you a new location as well. You have instant knowledge of where it occurs. It saves time. You don’t have to pick up a phone to call 911. It’s already dialed. 911 help is on the way.”
Modern technology from CENTEGIX has the potential to save time, and as illustrated, that can translate to lives saved. Whether it’s everyday emergencies or headline-grabbing events, our incident response technology is your simple and reliable answer.
Problems with Traditional Crisis Response Systems
In the past, crisis response systems relied on staff members acting calmly and thinking clearly and quickly. No matter how effective school staff safety training was, the possibility of human error remained.
Dr. Jim McMullen highlighted this fact in stating: “The simplicity piece and the human error piece was critical for us. You know, our philosophy is: you can have the best plans in the world, but if you have a human error implementing those plans, it’s all for not…Anytime you can take the human error out of notifying folks, I think it’s critical, and it certainly speeds everything up.”
There also could be communication delays. Even when things are going smoothly during a regular school day, it can be challenging for a teacher to reach the principal from the classroom.
If an immediate connection is made, multiple staff members could be reporting different aspects of the threat. This creates confusion and can make it difficult or impossible to actually locate the problem.
Smartphones are fantastic for some things. Ideally, an application could serve as a makeshift panic button, but they aren’t always reliable. Most applications require users to not only unlock their phone but also open the application to activate the panic button app, which wastes valuable time in an emergency situation. In some cases, school construction is so dense that cell phones don’t function well indoors, and phones constantly searching for service leads to quickly drained batteries, rendering the phone useless. One GA elementary school teacher highlighted this problem in our report: “We don’t have service in our building and it can be difficult to get ahold of the office staff.”
That’s why makers of innovative crisis response systems integrate automation and other advanced technology into their school safety solutions.
However, there are plenty of companies out there offering potential answers, so it is crucial to choose a team that has a history of success as well as testimonials to back it up.
Get to Know CENTEGIX Safety Technology
CENTEGIX is revolutionizing school safety with proprietary technology. When every second matters, our wearable incident response technology provides an instant link to authorities.
School safety solutions include:
- Safety Blueprint™
- Visitor Management
More than 600,000 people use our CrisisAlert wearable panic button. In addition, CENTEGIX has been selected to protect more than 11,500 schools across the country, including
- three of the top 10 largest school districts in the U.S.; 17 of the top 100
- more than 70 percent of K-12 public schools in Georgia and Nevada
- more than 35 percent of K-12 public schools in Florida
- more than 20 percent of K-12 public schools in New Mexico and Alabama
During a school safety training meeting, it’s easy to show staff the virtues of CrisisAlert. The system helps teachers and staff members feel comfortable that they can take positive steps during unplanned situations. It helps teachers and students feel safe and secure, so they can focus on the important business of teaching and learning.
The CENTEGIX Safety Blueprint provides detailed digital architectural maps of school buildings and grounds that can be shared with law enforcement and other first responders. At a glance, they can see
- floor plans
- exits / entrances
- access control points
- fire alarms
- other safety and security assets
The digital maps are designed to mesh seamlessly with existing school and law enforcement software platforms. The information can be displayed on mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. If there’s ever new construction, the Safety Blueprint can be edited by school officials to reflect the changes.
CENTEGIX Enhanced Visitor Management provides schools with real-time locations of visitors on a campus map. In addition, visitor analytics collected by the CENTEGIX Visitor Management system help leaders make informed decisions about:
- visitors policies
- vendor billing
- approved visitor lists
CENTEGIX helps schools optimize school safety on campus. The entire suite of tools can be implemented and taught without lengthy school staff safety training meetings.
The Benefits of CENTEGIX
CENTEGIX enables real-time communication between school staff, first responders, and authorities. Instant information sharing in crisis situations ensures a coordinated and effective response. It also helps minimize confusion and improve overall situational awareness.
In addition, CENTEGIX automates the incident management processes by:
- initiating lockdowns
- sending alerts
- coordinating evacuation procedures
Our innovative technology can help direct emergency personnel to the exact location of the crisis to enhance response times and, ultimately, saves lives.
CENTEGIX seamlessly integrates with existing security systems, including surveillance cameras and intercom systems. Leveraging these integrations enhances the effectiveness of crisis response and provides a comprehensive and streamlined solution for school safety.
While some school staff safety training is necessary when implementing CENTEGIX technology, it was designed to be simple and easy to use during an emergency situation, so teachers can go through their days with confidence.
“I have been a special ed teacher in a self contained classroom for several years. Dealing with meltdowns and violent outbursts happens. I have had to find help for situations before the emergency button and experienced getting help after. I definitely know that I am able to keep people safer, including myself, with the ability to get help quickly,” shared one GA middle school teacher.
To learn more about how the technology is used to protect students and staff in schools across the country, check out CENTEGIX’s School Safety Trends Report, or connect with a CENTEGIX specialist to learn how we can protect your schools.